Editor's note: Daniel A. Helminiak, who was ordained a priest in Rome, is a theologian, psychotherapist and author of “What the Bible Really Says about homosexuality" and books on contemporary spirituality. He is a professor of psychology at the University of West Georgia.
By Daniel A. Helminiak, Special to CNN
President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage, like blood in the water, has conservative sharks circling for a kill. In a nation that touts separation of religion and government, religious-based arguments command this battle. Lurking beneath anti-gay forays, you inevitably find religion and, above all, the Bible.
We now face religious jingoism, the imposition of personal beliefs on the whole pluralistic society. Worse still, these beliefs are irrational, just a fiction of blind conviction. Nowhere does the Bible actually oppose homosexuality.
In the past 60 years, we have learned more about sex, by far, than in preceding millennia. Is it likely that an ancient people, who thought the male was the basic biological model and the world flat, understood homosexuality as we do today? Could they have even addressed the questions about homosexuality that we grapple with today? Of course not.
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Hard evidence supports this commonsensical expectation. Taken on its own terms, read in the original languages, placed back into its historical context, the Bible is ho-hum on homosexuality, unless – as with heterosexuality – injustice and abuse are involved.
That, in fact, was the case among the Sodomites (Genesis 19), whose experience is frequently cited by modern anti-gay critics. The Sodomites wanted to rape the visitors whom Lot, the one just man in the city, welcomed in hospitality for the night.
The Bible itself is lucid on the sin of Sodom: pride, lack of concern for the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:48-49); hatred of strangers and cruelty to guests (Wisdom 19:13); arrogance (Sirach/Ecclesiaticus 16:8); evildoing, injustice, oppression of the widow and orphan (Isaiah 1:17); adultery (in those days, the use of another man’s property), and lying (Jeremiah 23:12).
But nowhere are same-sex acts named as the sin of Sodom. That intended gang rape only expressed the greater sin, condemned in the Bible from cover to cover: hatred, injustice, cruelty, lack of concern for others. Hence, Jesus says “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19; Mark 12:31); and “By this will they know you are my disciples” (John 13:35).
How inverted these values have become! In the name of Jesus, evangelicals and Catholic bishops make sex the Christian litmus test and are willing to sacrifice the social safety net in return.
The longest biblical passage on male-male sex is Romans 1:26-27: "Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another."
The Greek term para physin has been translated unnatural; it should read atypical or unusual. In the technical sense, yes, the Stoic philosophers did use para physin to mean unnatural, but this term also had a widespread popular meaning. It is this latter meaning that informs Paul's writing. It carries no ethical condemnation.
Compare the passage on male-male sex to Romans 11:24. There, Paul applies the term para physin to God. God grafted the Gentiles into the Jewish people, a wild branch into a cultivated vine. Not your standard practice! An unusual thing to do — atypical, nothing more. The anti-gay "unnatural" hullabaloo rests on a mistranslation.
Besides, Paul used two other words to describe male-male sex: dishonorable (1:24, 26) and unseemly (1:27). But for Paul, neither carried ethical weight. In 2 Corinthians 6:8 and 11:21, Paul says that even he was held in dishonor — for preaching Christ. Clearly, these words merely indicate social disrepute, not truly unethical behavior.
In this passage Paul is referring to the ancient Jewish Law: Leviticus 18:22, the “abomination” of a man’s lying with another man. Paul sees male-male sex as an impurity, a taboo, uncleanness — in other words, “abomination.” Introducing this discussion in 1:24, he says so outright: "God gave them up … to impurity."
But Jesus taught lucidly that Jewish requirements for purity — varied cultural traditions — do not matter before God. What matters is purity of heart.
“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles,” reads Matthew 15. “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”
Or again, Jesus taught, “Everyone who looks at a women with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Jesus rejected the purity requirements of the Jewish Law.
In calling it unclean, Paul was not condemning male-male sex. He had terms to express condemnation. Before and after his section on sex, he used truly condemnatory terms: godless, evil, wicked or unjust, not to be done. But he never used ethical terms around that issue of sex.
As for marriage, again, the Bible is more liberal than we hear today. The Jewish patriarchs had many wives and concubines. David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, and Daniel and the palace master were probably lovers.
The Bible’s Song of Songs is a paean to romantic love with no mention of children or a married couple. Jesus never mentioned same-sex behaviors, although he did heal the “servant” — pais, a Greek term for male lover — of the Roman Centurion.
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Paul discouraged marriage because he believed the world would soon end. Still, he encouraged people with sexual needs to marry, and he never linked sex and procreation.
Were God-given reason to prevail, rather than knee-jerk religion, we would not be having a heated debate over gay marriage. “Liberty and justice for all,” marvel at the diversity of creation, welcome for one another: these, alas, are true biblical values.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Daniel A. Helminiak.
Logic according to a Bible Thumper:
Norse gods are silly myths, their creation story is a fable, their followers delusional and wrong, and should be taught in religion class.
Hindu gods are a silly myth, their creation story is a fable, are silly myths, their creation story is a fable, their followers delusional and wrong, and should be taught in religion class.
Animist gods are silly myths, their creation story is a fable, their followers delusional and wrong, and should be taught in religion class.
Wiccan spirits are silly myths, their creation story is a fable, their followers delusional and wrong, and should be taught in religion class.
Oh, but my PERSONAL christian god is a absolute fact, its creation myth is literally true, its followers are enlightened and correct, and it should be taught in science class.
you should learn about the Jesuits society and what they do.
Well, duh. Of course!
It seems we can rationalize most anything in todays environment. God made man and woman, they fit together perfectly. Any changes on what God has made is something less.
Very well said, and absolutely true.
kenneth: se-x-ual orientation is an innate trait. like left handedness. who are you to question what god made?
@BamaDaniel How old are you? You use bad grammar and punctuation and you seem to not know some of the simplest facts of nature?
Procreate as simple as it gets getting ready for work no time punch. Not writing a thesis
this article is just a bunch of BS disinfo
have the anti-gay folks read Leviticus? "do not eat any meat with the blood still in it" "‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material." “‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard." “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord" . . . things we don't really concern ourselves about.
that's the law of the old covenant. it no longer apply after JC's death. Which means the law still exists but we should not put to death people who break that law. You need to ask good ol' JC for forgiveness so that you do not repeat those acts. Of course CNN doesn't know squat about the Bible and so the majority of the people here. nobody here understands the meaning of Jesus' death and it's pretty obvious nobody's got a clue.
I guess you can read the book, cross check the scholarly work, and then determine if it's all BS or not.
so we need to ask for forgiveness if we wear clothing made of 2 different materials? . . . "Oh Lord, I am humbly sorry for wearing this cotton blend today" . . . what?
Who cares what an archaic book of mythology says about anything? It's just ancient myths and superst!tions, written thousands of years ago by members of a primitive culture. It has always boggled my mind why anyone with any intelligence at all would blindly accept such utter nonsense as reality.
You can't build half the stuff built by said primitive culture
Bama: name one thing that we couldn't build. (don't even try the Pyramids, we've had that process nailed for decades)
that ancient book as you said has the guidelines how to be a good person on this planet and do the right thing in everything, why is it so hard for human to follow instead is easy to lie, kill, and do all kind of sins does it make sense to life a live wasted on such things? imagen what would you do the day tha God decides to come to our world and then you may think, oh he was real?, oh can you forgive me?, and he will etell you sorry but I have been calling you to repent all your life and you said I was a myth it's too late for you. just because you prefer the world and the material stuff wasting all the oportunities you had to change
You have no clue what reality is. You were born not too long ago, and all you know is what you have come across. So imagine 1000 years from now. People will say, that guy was primitive, he had no grip on reality. So to cite your intelligence is very ironic.
I like all the Christians on here saying that he's wrong but not giving any evidence as why he's wrong. Or saying that god will judge them when the whole article is about the bible not saying god cares at all one way or another.
Christians, if you're going to argue, please form an argument before you jump right in.
Ho-mose-xuality in the 21st century:
ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS–
"Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.
o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:
“ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice. "
"Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8
See also the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”
Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions supposedly abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.
And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-se-x unions not same-se-x marriages.
From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, ga-y s-exual activity is still mutual mas-turbation caused by one or more complex s-exual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.
Is it really possible that Reality said something without insulting people of faith? Did I miss something?
Atheists are the sewage of the human race and deserve to burn in hell for all of eternity away frmo the presence of the Almighty LORD.
The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)
Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
(references used are available upon request)
Thank you for providing a perfect case study demonstrating why you zealot religious hypocrites are a cancer on our society.
The irony is, if your silly god does exist, and IS good, tolerance athiests will be in far better shape in his eyes than venemous, hatemongering bigots like you.
What are the odds that a man, claiming to be sent from heaven, can find twelve single men to join with him and save the world from oppression and tyranny? What are the odds that a church would be built, and a religion lay claim to leadership of all mankind, and again all of the leaders would be men? What are the odds that the men of that church, each called priest, would turn out to be the pedophiles that all of mankind claims to dislike? What are the odds, that men would write a book, call it the bible, and only men would be in charge of all rewritten texts within that book? Maybe men were suspose to be with other men, otherwise Catholic Priests would have wives.
Heaven is Hebrew for sky no mythical place God is in heaven because his spaceship is in heaven heaven is the sky nothing else gods home is in the sky . Most airplanes you see you see in heaven
I'll say it again catholicism is a joke their priest are gay
I am an athiest.
I do not believe in heaven or hell.
Where will I burn if I don't believe in hell?
Religion is for sheep, idiots and the desperate.
Hell is a place for unbelieving atheist trash to burn forever where they belong. I don't care if you don't believe. If you don't believe it doesn't mean you can run away. There will be no escape in hell.
that thought is totally wrong we all are sons of God and we all deserve the oportunity to change as you got yours any time in your life, if by your selfishness you will go to hell with them too what would you do? are you perfect, just by this way of thinking your may not be gratefull in the eyes of our heavenly Father
That's ok. There is no hell. There is nothing to escape from.
Evidently you fail on the basis of you screen name “WWJD”. Do us all a huge favor and go away, very far away, with your own kind, and expire. Leave those of us with working synapses to think through problems, without referring to you and your Sky Fairy nonsense, and solve them.
It is very refreshing to have someone that is well-schooled in religious doctrine to point out the extrapolations made by many of today's religious leaders.
obviously this guy is either gay or also preys on children (little boys)..........his own interpretation of what the Bible says is absoulutely wrong and this article shows how extreme CNN is at hating Christians and Christianity......CNN (Communist News Network) is not good for this country and it shows through their ratings why America is not watching their program...........people are smart enough to know the TRUTH.......and this guy is not telling it.
When lunatic fringe tea baggers like you, whose political views make Mussolini look polite and moderate, look at the centrist media, its not surprising you think it all seems 'leftist'. but the problem is not the media, its you.
awwwww....feeling a little put upon, little fella?
A quack scientist can write anything in a book or paper
Or...a group of all-white, all-male patriarchial priests could determine which of the MANY books get included in the bible for all eternity, and which are excluded. Yep, anybody can write anything...
so can a quack sheepherder
Show me video proof of a male baby bottle nose dolphin born gay refusing to suckle its mother because it wants another male dolphin
Babies need their mother. What is your point?
A born gay dolphin wouldn't want female parts in its mouth just a male dolphin ding dong
How old are you? You use bad punctuation and grammar and you seem to fail to grasp some of the simplest workings of nature.
Don't have time for punctuation simplest function of nature procreate even plants do it or are some plants gay as a seed
Good Lord, you people come up with dumber stuff every day.
Show me video proof of one gay human who wouldn't breast feed as a baby. . . . see how stupid your analogy is?
The ONLY way your analogy would hold any merit whatsoever is if you considered the mother to be an object of se-x-ual desire instead of nurturing and motherhood.
Then again, many conservatives DO think this way which is why they get all bent out of shape about breastfeeding.
I'll bet that 'Bama' is not so proud to see you representing the state and school with your idiotic "dolphin ding dong" comments. Are you implying that human male gays do not breast feed? Or are you implying that non-gay male human babies derive some sort of pleasure from breast-feeding? Dumb and internet-connected...worst combo.
all children suckle their mothers, bama, even the gay ones.
Philosophy...a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat...that isn't in the room. If the Bible is irrelevant to a non-believer, why try to use it to prove your position is okay? Let's just all get along...you fix your faults, I will fix mine.
Few 100% true Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:
† Atheism is a religion that makes you stupid, ignorant & blind.
† Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
† Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet Atheists)
† Atheist are satanic and have gothic/emo/heavy metal lifestyle.
† Atheists causes problem in our religious society.
† Atheists support the gay agendas and it is unnatural.
† Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
† Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
† Atheism making you agree with Stalin, Hitler (Denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders.
† No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
† Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
† Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
† Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
† Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
† Atheists have never read the Bible despite all of their claims. They rely on the internet.
† All Atheists are uneducated... No Atheists could run for presidency.
† Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
† Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
† All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
† The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
† Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
**Only 2-3% of the U.S. are Atheists/Agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**
† † Our Prayers goes to Atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †
ATHEISTS WILL BURN IN HELLFIRE AND BRIMSTONE WHERE THEY BELONG AND THEY ALL DESERVE IT AND I CAN'T WAIT TO WATCH FROM ABOVE IN HEAVEN WITH A SMILE WHILE I DANCE ON STREETS OF GOLD WHILE ATHEISTS SKIN BOILS OFF AND THEY CRY LIKE BABIES AND THEIR CHILDREN WILL JOIN THEM
ATHEISTS ARE OBEYING SATAN WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING AND DESERVE JESUS' JUDGEMENT TO BURN IN HELL
The author of this article is a priest. I am pretty sure he is not an athiest.
How utterly stupid. All the gods that have been worshiped since the beginning of history would fill 10 football stadiums, but YOURS is the only one that's real. It's just ancient mythology, written thousands of years ago by members of a primitive culture. Anyone with a brain can see that very clearly.
What an astonishing list of silly, mispelled lies. Seriously kid, I dont think a single one of those clauses of yours has any basis in reality.
Christians, for example, are OVER-represented in prison and on death row, athiests far underrepresented. You lose.
If you look at the top 10 countries in the world by suicide rate, only ONE of them could be considered 'atheistic'. You lose.
I find it curious, why do you zealots feel the need to lie all the time? Isnt that gainst the code of your fairy tale god?
Wow, some people have no clue what Atheists think or believe.
Ten football stadiums? Actually, there are only about 3,000 named deities, angels and demons as far as I'm aware give or take. Just an FYI. Stupid nonetheless is this ramrod christian mongrel.
WWJD I thought all christians were suppose to love thy neighboro...
Talk about mentally ill . . .
You seem bitter and sad. Peace.
You could replace the word Atheist with Religious Zealot and it would actually be true.
Judge much? Where is your love? You sure are sadistic.
get this one a straight jacket pronto
Thank you for this article. Your information is helpful.
I strongly disagree with the views expressed here...and for anyone that might want to know, this article is authored by a professed gay catholic priest.
They all gay
Well only a gay person would know what they are talking about concerning gay people. And the facts that are represented are true regardless of who this author falls in love with.
If say I will love my life without a woman you gay
and your comments are authored by whom?
SELF DEFENSE! I KNEW IT!! THAT LITTLE JERK HAD IT COMING!!!! NEVER ATTACK SOMEONE!!!!!
FAUX news is not reliable. This was an unarmed 17 year old kid, so take your ignorance elsewhere! Zimmerman deserves life behind bars regardless...he was bigger than Martin and could have used physical force instead of a weapon but he chose the easy way out. The full evidence will come out in the end.
You may have your opinion as any other that are of the world may; likewise we which believe also know what we know. It is a small thing that one of the world would say that what is sin according to God is not sin, or is somehow no longer sin according to their conclusions; but it is of none effect with God. For we which do believe already know that the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, therefore it is understandable that they say God's Word does not say that forbidden lust is not sin; but again, it is because the mind is blind to the truth according to God.
Try the Urantia Book it is revelation and not as edited as the Bible.
@BamaDaniel Mallard Ducks, American Bison, Bonobo, Bottlenose Dolphins are just a few.
I had a "thousand wiper" this morning. Do you know what that is? I'll tell you. It's when you drop a few hefty logs in the commode and although it's solid, it still leaves a terrible mess to clean up. All I had available at the time was 100 GRIT toilet paper. So, I got to cleaning up, and you know what I thought about?
I thought about stuffing a wad of it in every christian's mouth on the planet and punching them all in the face. I smiled, finished up and carried on with my day.
Skipping home room at your elementary school this morning we see.
god will have the last word !
If your god does exist, his 'last word' will be condeming you and all you psudo-bible thumpers who use your holy book as a convenient shield to mask your hatred, bigotry and intolerance, to hell.
@ gaunt , god is a holy god and he cannot look upon sin. that's why jesus died on the cross. satan would have
you believe that every thing is permissible in this life but it's not. god set moral laws and commandments
to show the proper order of his creation. no one is any holier than anyone else in themselves except the
one who recognizes who jesus is and follows him to righteousness. the blind keep on stumbling and
cursing in darkness and deliver themselves unto their eternal destination by their own words.
All of your psudo religious babble changes nothing of what I said. Your fairy tale god doesnt exist, but IF HE DID< you would be in for an eternity in hell for your bigotry, hatemongering, judgementalism and closed-mindedness, not to mention using Jesus as a shield for your intolerance and hate.
@ gaunt , dude you are the one following satan as your master and in danger of hell if you haven't excepted christ.
so as i said god will have the last word. if you sincerely wanted the truth you would look for it , but
it's clear that you spew more hate out in your statements than anybody. satan cannot tolerate
the light of gods word. if you can't , you better ask yourself why and who your following before
you do die and leave this world.
Only the most pitiful and repulsive of hypocrites could imagine that their fairy tale jesus endorses hatred, bigotry, inequality and prejudice. If there is a satan, you are his best and brightest weapon kid, a man doing evil whuile utterly and blindly convinced god endorses his hatemongering.
If your faiory tale god exists, he will tell you at the pearly gates the same thing I am about to tell you.
Go fu ck yourself, you repulsive bigot.
i could say something vulgar as your vocabulary is obviously limited to that kind of rhetoric. instead i'll end with
BE BAPTISED IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST , before it's too late.
You know what I find interesting about your mewling psudo-religious retorts? In all of my answers I have said the same thing, that only a hypocritical lunatic would embrace bigotry and hate and call it the word of god. Yet though you seem to love posting, you remain too cowardly and ashamed to even try and address that single point I keep repeating. You squirm and dodge around it, but you are too cowardly to man up and address this simple issue. Are you really so ashamed of your faith, and its obvious hypocricy?
@ gaunt , i find it interesting that you are the one spewing out profanity and intolerance of others points of view.
are you so ashamed of being gay that it provokes you to cursing and swearing. not very mature for a little
boy even. also you probably have limited knowledge of what the bible really says or you might consider
the fact that god has been around a lot longer than you and you temper tantrums. why don't you grow
up and read the book instead of ranting and rambling on about things you don't even know.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.